Runner’s Knee Exercises

What are the Best Runner’s Knee Exercises to Get me Back Moving After the Painful Condition Puts Out of Action?

Runner’s knee, clinically called patellofemoral pain syndrome, is an extremely common complaint for active people, especially runners. The pain usually flairs up at the front of the knee, or under the kneecap, and can become a chronic condition for athletes. Thankfully, there are plenty of runner’s knee exercises that you can try with the help of a sports podiatrist to guide you towards a full recovery and the sports you love.

Runner’s Knee Exercises 1 – Quad Strength

A standing quad stretch is one of the most beneficial runner’s knee exercises that you can attempt to help alleviate patellofemoral pain syndrome. Here are 5 easy instructions to help you complete the quad building runner’s knee exercise.

  1. Stand upright.
  2. Reach to grab your left foot with your left hand.
  3. Hold knees close together for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the ride side.
  5. Complete 2-3 sets on each leg.
  6. Repeat these exercises
  7. 3 times a day

Runner's Knee Exercises

Runner’s Knee Exercises 2 – Calf Stretch

Exercising the calves at the base of your leg is another one of the key runner’s knee exercises you can perform to help reduce knee pain.

  1. Face a wall with your hands at eye level. Move your leg a step behind your other leg.
  2. Keeping your back leg straight and your back heel on the floor, bend your front knee and then gently raise your hip and chest to the wall until.
  3. Hold that calf stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3 times on each leg / 3 times a day.

Calf stretch

Runner’s Knee Exercises 3 – Bench Hip Lift

It’s important to do a bench hip lift slowly. Lie flat on your back with your feet raised on a bench or step. Lift your hips into the air and then slowly lower back to the ground. Do this runner’s knee exercise 10 times until you feel the muscles in your hamstrings and glutes really working.

 Runner’s Knee Exercises 4 – Wall Sit

A wall sit can greatly improve the pain of runner’s knee by building up the strength of your quad muscles. Sit with your back against a wall with your knees bent to about 90 degrees. Hold for up to 45 seconds, or until you feel the burn in your quads. Perform several times during the day as this runner’s knee exercise is known to greatly reduce knee pain. It’s a tough one and burns, hang in there!

Runner’s Knee Exercises 5 – Straight Leg Raises

Lie on your back with your unaffected knee bent so that your foot is resting flat on the floor. Your affected knee should then be straight. Slip your hand in between the floor. Contract the thigh muscles of the affected leg by pressing the back of your knee flat down to the floor. Keep your knee straight with your leg about 20cm away from the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then rest for up to 10 seconds between repetitions. The more advanced version of this runner’s knee exercise is to place a strap around the foot and raise your leg up with your arms, keeping the knee straight until you feel the stretch behind the high. Hold for up to 30 seconds and perform up to 3 times.

Runner’s Knee Exercises 6 – Clamshell

A Pilates move known as the clamshell can improve the strength of your hip muscles, specifically the gluteus (bum muscle). It’s the glutes that help guide and control the position of your knee so getting them stronger might help treat runner’s knee pain. Lie on your side with both knees bent. Slowly lift your top knee up while keeping your feet together. Keep your knee in that position for a few seconds, then slowly lower to the ground. To make the clamshell runner’s knee exercise more challenging, place a resistance band around your knee.


Podiatrist Rami Ghorra